Home Nelson Branch Newsletters Nelson Branch...

Nelson Branch Newsletter – January 2011


New Zealand China Friendship Society Inc. – Nelson Branch

No. 1 – January 2011


Best Wishes for the Year of the Rabbit

We hope you have had a relaxed and enjoyable holiday season with family or friends, either here in Nelson or elsewhere. The Year of the Rabbit officially hops in on the 3rd of February, 2011, but so that we can celebrate the occasion and enjoy exclusive use of our chosen restaurant, our combined Chinese New Year Banquet and AGM will be on the following Monday evening, 7 February, at the Eastern Cuisine, 275 Queen Street, Richmond.

Your family members, friends, visitors, and guests are all most welcome to attend this wonderful celebration.

The cost for the Banquet is $30. The usual beverages (juice, soft drinks, beer and wine) will be available for purchase from the restaurant and if you wish to bring your own wine the corkage fee is just $5.

A big change this year! To make things easier for the organisers and the restaurant, payment for the banquet, at $30 per person, must be made beforehand by cheque or internet banking – so please complete and post the booking form below. Other payments, such as corkage and drinks, will be made directly to the restaurant.

You are also invited to make a donation towards the Nelson Branch Project – the Kathleen Hall Clinic in Songjiazhuang Village – either with your booking or on the night. A donation tin will be available.

It would be very much appreciated if everyone could be there by 5.45pm to enable the brief AGM to begin at 6pm. The banquet will commence about 7pm. In between, we will be entertained by some music and dancing, kindly provided by Cristy and the Filipina Association.

Monday 7 February .. Eastern Cuisine Restaurant .. 5:45 pm

For any enquiries please ring: Barbara Markland (Ph. 544 4712)


Post to: Barbara Markland


NZ China Friendship Society – Nelson Branch

23 Polglase Street

Richmond 7020

We will be attending the Chinese New Year Banquet and AGM on Monday 7 February at 5.45pm

MEMBERS’ NAMES: _______________________________________________________________

GUESTS’ NAMES: _______________________________________________________________

Total no. of people: _______ @ $30 each Cheque enclosed $_______ or paid via internet


If you prefer, you can pay directly via internet banking to the NZ China Friendship Society – Nelson Branch bank account 03-0703-0369680-00. Please make sure you enter your name as the reference and then email both Barbara Markland at erm@xtra.co.nz and Treasurer Royden Smith at royden@shangrila.net.nz who can then confirm your booking.

LAST MEETING – SISTER CITY: It was a wonderful, and very well-attended, Branch meeting where the delegates who had been to visit Huangshi expertly reported back. What a marvellous time they had and we could see from the photographs what a beautiful city Huangshi is, not at all the polluted, industrial city I had expected.

It seems the delegation visit was very successful and that some valuable contacts have been made. Let’s hope some more comes of the sister-city relationship now. It certainly seems positive.

The delegates were all extremely well prepared and had coordinated an absorbing slideshow. Bill Findlater and Dot Kettle spoke of the business contacts they had made and of their hopes for further developing business ties. Christine Ward talked of the official visits made – to the sister hospital and sister school where gifts were given and received. Kathy Beatson spoke of the 60th anniversary celebrations, the reason for the visit, and had great photos of the decorations around the city. Bruce Ward told us of their more personal leisure time activities, although they don’t seem to have had much time for relaxation. As we have come to expect from our friends in Huangshi, there were banquets aplenty, impressive police escorts, and all in all ‘right royal’ treatment.

For me the stand-out comment was made by Bill, spoken directly to Mayor Aldo Miccio – he said that Nelson would be “MAD” not to take advantage of the relationship with Huangshi that has been developed over the years by the Branch, through its dealing with Huangshi. Huangshi is a city of more than 2 million people and has everything Nelson would need without looking elsewhere in China. The friendship and trust that is so necessary when doing business in China has already been developed by the Branch.

There has already been some follow up to the delegation visit: a delegation from the Huangshi Chamber of Commerce is expected early this year and, while they will be guests of our local Chamber, the Branch will assist with the visit. A meeting has also been arranged at Nelson College for Girls in the new school year so we can present the scroll Christine was given. We intend to provide some of the history of the Sister School relationship and hopefully make inroads into arranging some sort of exchange between the schools. We are waiting until the new year as a new Principal has been appointed and we thought it would be beneficial to make sure she was included.

President Christine Ward, Bruce Ward and I had a meeting with Denise Hutchins who is the General Manager of Organisational Development at Nelson Hospital. We discussed the possibility of an exchange of some sort. During the last visit from Huangshi, the representative from the Huangshi Chinese Medicine Hospital expressed great interest in the Accident and Emergency Department at the Nelson Hospital and so we wondered if there would be the possibility of someone from Huangshi spending 2-3 weeks observing in that department. From Nelson’s perspective, we understand great work is being done in Huangshi, rehabilitating patients who have had strokes or who who have head injuries, through massage. This would be of great interest to our physiotherapists. Obviously these discussions are at a very early stage and nothing is promised at this time.

– Barbara Markland, Sister City Liaison

HUANGSHI AND NELSON ON CCTV: The Huangshi Foreign Affairs Office has advised us that China’s Central Television (CCTV) have just started a new programme on their Chinese international channel named “Sister Cities One to One”, publicising friendly exchanges, cooperation, progress and development between China’s cities and their foreign sister cities.

CCTV has chosen Huangshi as a candidate to make such a programme and the Huangshi Municipal Government has decided to recommend Nelson as the other city in the proposed TV show, inviting Nelson Mayor, Mr Aldo Miccio, Huangshi leaders and officials, and members from friendship societies to join in. The TV show is preliminarily set to be recorded in the Huangshi TV Station studios in March 2011, with the Nelson attendees having their dialogue with Huangshi through satellite/internet which CCTV will support technically.

Huangshi think this is quite a new effort to strengthen the Huangshi-Nelson friendship and a great (free) opportunity to advertise our two cities to the world. They hope that Mayor Aldo Miccio, the Nelson City Council and NZCFS – Nelson Branch will be interested in and support this TV programme. Bill Findlater has offered his full support and we have responded very positively.

– Barbara Markland, Sister City Liaison

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: Items on the agenda will include: the President’s Report, the Financial Report, the Election of Officers, and any General Business.

As some of the current team are unavailable for re-election, new committee members would be happily welcomed. Nominations for all positions will be taken at the meeting.

2011 SUBSCRIPTIONS: As our Branch accounts are reasonably healthy, the Treasurer will recommend at the AGM that our subscriptions remain unchanged:

That Nelson Branch subscriptions for 2011 remain the same as 2010:

Single $15          Couple $25          School $25          Corporate $30

2011 BRANCH MEETINGS: Please mark these dates on your calendar and keep them free for our Branch Meetings during 2011 – all Friday evenings as usual:

25 March              13 May (2 weeks before National Conference)

1 July                    19 August                   30 September                    18 November

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2011: The 2011 National Conference and AGM will be hosted by the Wellington Branch from 27-29 May. The theme of the Conference is China & NZ: The Next Decade, indicating an emphasis on looking forward to the future of the friendship between our two countries. The programme is looking very exciting with several interesting speakers and it would be great to see a good contingent from Nelson there this year, especially when it is just a hop across the ditch. Perhaps combine it with a North Island holiday? More details soon.

MEMBER NEWS: We welcome Lori and Richard Brudvik-Lindner and their two Chinese daughters as new members of the Branch. Lark is 11 – born in the Year of the Rabbit – and from Changsha, while Wren is 5 and from Guilin. We look forward to seeing them at the New Year Banquet.

Ivan Kurtovic reports from Xi’an that Lillian gave birth to a delightful daughter (3.72kg) on the 9th of November – just after our last newsletter was sent out. We wish them well and hope it won’t be too long before we get to meet Aviva in person.

Vivian Meikle will be back in Nelson in February and March but unfortunately her visit falls between our meetings. She very much enjoys keeping in touch with our activities from Canada and sends her best wishes to everyone.

NZCFS APRIL TOUR: It is wonderful that at least two Nelson members will be joining the NZCFS Discover China Tour in April. The innovative itinerary was put together after the more unusual areas were visited by the Prominent Persons Tour in 2009 and everyone loved what they saw and experienced. This is an excellent compact tour with a broad range of sights, from the usual Great Wall, Forbidden City and Terracotta Warriors but combined with some fascinating and less well-travelled historic areas in the ancient walled town of Pingyao, the impressive Longmen grottoes in Luoyang, the famous Shaolin Temple and martial arts performance, and the stunning sights from the top of Huashan (Flower Mountain) – all in all, a marvellous combination.

All this comes with quality accommodation, excellent hospitality (that only our NZCFS partners in China can provide), a minimum of travel and a great all-inclusive price. This excellent itinerary makes the tour just as suitable for those who have never been to China, as it is for those who may wish to return and discover some more.

For more details on the “Discover China – April 2011 Tour” you are welcome to contact the Tour Leader, Royden Smith, on 547-6608 or nzcfstours@shangrila.net.nz or our House of Travel travel agent, Andrew Kemp, at andrewk@hot.co.nz or phone Andrew in Timaru on 0800 80 80 25.

Even if you are unable to travel yourself, we are very dependent on our members spreading the good word about our NZCFS tours. Many of you will have been on these tours before and know what great value they are. So, it would be very much appreciated if you could advertise the tour to all your family, friends and colleagues – the more Nelsonians the better so persuade some to come and join us! More information and the detailed brochure at:


SISTER CITY RELATIONSHIP: Many of those who were at the Sister City presentation in November were fascinated by the history of the sister city relationship that Isabelle Jones presented at the meeting, as it showed just how extensive it has been. As many people requested copies, here is her talk with some of the photos:

The idea of a Sister City in China, probably goes back to 1992 when 4 Nelson members joined a NZCFS tour in China and heard first hand from other branch members about the highlights, benefits and successful relationships which they had formed, through their Sister Cities. On their return, they spoke informally with the Society’s National President, Prof Bill Willmott, who in turn discussed the issue during a Hubei Provincial visit to Christchurch.

In 1993, Hubei suggested a friendly contact with Huangshi, and after discussion at branch level, Beverley and Robin Brown and I, representing our members, approached then Mayor, Philip Woollaston, for Council reaction which turned out to be very positive. Around this time, Bill Willmott visited Huangshi and sent back information and opinions about the city.

Early in 1994, Mayor Philip Woollaston was invited to Huangshi and he asked Beverley, Robin and I to take part in this inaugural visit, along with Joseph Lam and Robert Haas, representing the Sister Cities Committee. The welcome was unbelievable: huge red notices wherever we visited, TV cameras, police car escorts, wonderful banquets and warm, friendly people who were obviously delighted to have this contact with a western country, and keen to showcase their city. A paper of intent was signed, expressing interest in a future relationship.

Philip held a meeting on his return to Nelson with 41 invited guests from various sectors, with interest shown from many who attended. At this point, Robin Brown was appointed Nelson/Huangshi liaison coordinator, a position he held for 11 years.

Our first exchange took place in 1995, when Hu Binquan, a highly successful table tennis player was brought to Nelson. Such was the success of the Nelson Table Tennis Academy, which had been started when Binquan came, that his stay was extended and his family came to live here too. They gained New Zealand citizenship in 1999. The Academy brought many people to Nelson, the standard of play greatly improved and the number of teams participating increased. It was a great success story.

In the same year, the first Mayoral delegation from Huangshi visited Nelson. Initially welcomed at the Whakatu Marae, they enjoyed a variety of activities and social occasions, their programme organised with great care and detail by Robin, as were subsequent visits over the years. He and Beverley have been generous hosts to many Huangshi visitors from the beginning of the Sister City relationship. A formal Sister City agreement was signed, with Mayor Ren Shimao saying, “We have looked forward to this visit for some time and now that it is happening, long term friendship with the people of Huangshi seems a reality – an exciting prospect.”

In 1996, Beverley, Robin and I paid a seven day visit to Huangshi for what we thought would be a low key holiday. We were wrong and were wined and dined, and enjoyed some extremely interesting experiences. Much interest was expressed in cultural and educational visits for the future. A trade meeting had been arranged, so the three of us, who had no real connections with trade, talked with about 20 Huangshi officials. It was obvious that they felt very strongly about this aspect of the relationship and numerous business propositions were explored. They provided extensive details and videos showing the possible links. These were brought back to Nelson and given to a Council official but there was no apparent follow-up.

1997 saw the exchange visit of Zu Zugui, a municipal officer who was home hosted, mainly by the Browns. He attended Nelson Polytechnic, as it was then, studying English for four weeks and then he observed at the Nelson City Council for a further three weeks. This exchange was very important in the history of the relationship as Zugui was to become the main liaison person for Huangshi and is so still today.

That same year, the first educational delegation visited from Huangshi and included three Principals and the Vice Mayor, who were extremely interested in the education system in Nelson.

As with many other educational visitors, they loved the interaction with our children, especially those with blonde hair, a rare sight in China. The first Nelson teacher to work in Huangshi was Society member, Jude Taylor, from Nelson College for Girls, who spent a year at Huangshi Teachers’ College in 1998.

Later that year, Robin and Beverley arranged a 3-week stay in Huangshi, living in an apartment. They interacted with a variety of individuals and groups and caught up with Jude. Working in schools and talking on radio and TV, they were greatly appreciated by the people for their interaction, and are still well-remembered today for this visit.

Barbara Harford and I included Huangshi in our travels that year too, attracting great attention and friendliness as we wandered through the city as, at that stage, Westeners were rarely seen. Visits were arranged by Zugui and wonderful hospitality received.

Huangshi suffered severe flood damage that year and the Nelson City Council took responsibility for a flood relief appeal, supported by our Society. The focus was on helping two schools which were badly affected. The donated money was used for books and for concreting a school playground. In 1999, a delegation comprising seven students from Nayland College and five adults, including Robin and his son Mark, Principal of Victory School, visited the affected schools. They were met by a school brass band, all the children and 150 appreciative members of the community, keen to show them the new playground.

2000 saw an educational exchange, with Nayland College hosting eight students and three educationalists, while Martin Zhu from No 2 Middle School stayed for another six weeks, experiencing educational systems at four schools.

Mayor Paul Matheson led a delegation in 2001 and they were given the usual red carpet welcome, receptions and visits. Delegates included Mike and Inga Cotton (NCC), Marilyn and Colin Gibbs (Chamber of Commerce), Pat Jones (Sister City Liaison) and Robin. Robin delivered a formal Sister City letter from Nelson College for Girls to No. 3 Middle School, with a view to promoting educational exchange and cooperation between the two schools.

2002 was a busy year, starting with a Women’s delegation from Huangshi, supported by the National Council of Women, and another educational group of three young teachers.

In the year 2000, the Branch had approached the Council as to the possibility of a Chinese Garden in Nelson and in 2001 the present site in Queen’s Garden was chosen and planning began. In order to study the design of Chinese Gardens, Andrew and Jude Petheram, accompanied by Robin, visited Huangshi, and liaised with their counterparts to gain an insight into planning for the Nelson Garden. This stay was invaluable when Andrew and Peter later began their planning and many people have commented on the authenticity of our Chinese Garden, influenced by this visit.

Later that year, a Huangshi Mayoral delegation enjoyed a five day visit, the highlight being the planting of a gingko tree in the Chinese Garden site and the unveiling of a significant stone by the two Mayors. The Suter Art Gallery was presented with a replica goblet as a link to Huangshi’s 3000 year old copper mine.

After the Principal of Nelson College for Girls, Alison McAlpine, visited Huangshi, a student from No. 3 Middle School attended Nelson College for Girls for two years and her mother taught there for a term. In 2004, the College initiated a visit by the Principal of No. 3 Middle School, along with a member of staff and two students, who attended classes and enjoyed activities in the city and in the Tasman area. A sister school link was established.

2005 saw a women’s group representing our Branch, the Nelson City Council, the National Council of Women, the Nelson Marlborough Hospital Board, Nelson Kindergartens, and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology paying a 6-day visit to Huangshi. They were accompanied by Robin and Beverley who were greatly surprised to see the speed at which Huangshi was modernising. As always, wonderful hospitality was shown, along with career-related visits. Many features of the city and countryside were experienced.

Leigh Heaney was a student at Nelson College for Girls and, when she began learning Mandarin there, joined our Society. She followed her love of the language, and we were delighted that, in September 2005, she took up a teaching position at Huangshi’s No. 8 Middle school teaching English, staying there for two years.

The President of the Traditional Chinese Medical Hospital was included in the next delegation to Nelson and, while here, signed a document with Nelson Hospital, stating that their aim was to explore opportunities for an exchange of personnel and/or health information with a view to enhancing health knowledge for all concerned.

Barbara Markland became our Sister City Liaison person in 2006 and her first major organisational challenge was the visit of a 10-person delegation, invited to the opening of the Chinese Garden. The group included senior representatives from the Congress, Construction and Management, Education, Foreign Affairs, Medicine, Newspaper and Television. The Chinese Garden, symbolic of the Nelson/Huangshi relationship, was obviously of great significance to our visitors and of course to the Council and our Branch. Huangshi presented a donation of $NZ13,000 towards the Garden. Seven years after our initial approach to Council, the Garden was officially opened.

Barbara worked valiantly to organise a delegation to Huangshi in 2008 and 2009, but with the recession, and commitments by possible members, it was deferred until this year, when a delegation attended Huangshi’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

Till now what has been achieved? A strong table tennis centre; a Chinese Garden, popular with locals and tourists; connections between schools and hospitals; visits and exchanges which have given us all insights into the lives of people in both cities; and, in so many cases, friendships which would otherwise never have been possible.

Taken from a No. 3 Middle School newspaper written during International English Week was this delightful quotation about the relationship: “May our friendship remain in perpetual youth and last forever, like the ever-flowing Chang Jiang River.”

The Chang Jiang is what we commonly call the Yangtze so I think we can be assured that it is “ever-flowing.” Hopefully, the Nelson/Huangshi relationship will be too.

THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT: This is Year 4709 according to Chinese reckoning.

According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don’t try to force issues because, if you do, you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children.   Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.

Rabbit years are:         1903      1915      1927      1939      1951

1963      1975      1987     1999      2011

Famous Rabbits include: Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra, Pope Benedict XVI, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Germaine Greer, Neil Sedaka, Francis Ford Coppola, Drew Barrymore, Harry Belafonte, Lewis Carroll, John Cleese, David Frost, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Whitney Houston, John Hurt, Michael Keaton, John Keats, Julian Lennon, Arthur Miller, Roger Moore, George Orwell, Neil Simon, Dusty Springfield, Sting, and Orson Welles.

The Rabbit is a lucky sign. If you were born in a Rabbit year, you’re a well-rounded, private individual with a positive perspective on life. You’re slightly introverted, but friendly and easily warm to people once you know them. Like the Rabbit, you’re a calm person who enjoys the company of a group of good friends and would rather avoid a confrontation. People born into this sign would rather work behind-the-scenes instead of being the center of attention. The Rabbit symbolises such character traits as creativity, compassion, and sensitivity.

Their serene nature keeps Rabbits from becoming visibly upset. Because they’re serene animals, Rabbits are easily taken advantage of. Their sensitive nature makes them shy away from aggressive or competitive situations. They’re conservative overall and not interested in taking risks. Those born under the Sign of the Rabbit enjoy learning about cultural issues and people from other countries so there should be lots of Rabbits in the Society! Rabbits are most comfortable being at home, and their homes are always neat and organised. The desire for remaining in safe environments keeps Rabbits from taking risks which sometimes causes them to miss out on good opportunities.

Although Rabbit people get on well with everyone, at heart they are basically reserved creatures, and are only really happy when they are engrossed in some sort of scholarly or intellectual activity. They are just too sensitive to the world around them. They are just not able to thrive in a competitive or aggressive environment, and it makes them anxious if someone forces them to take risks. Rabbits are articulate and good communicators which is why friends and acquaintances seek out their advice. It’s also why Rabbits make excellent diplomats and politicians. Other good careers for Rabbits include: writer, publisher, actor, fashion designer, therapist, doctor, administrator, public relations and teacher.

They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

The full newsletter is available at: